Everybody’s happy when these hit the table. I started making them for the kids but now I make them for me. They are addictive. I dream about them. I usually double the recipe and freeze half since breading and frying is a bit of a mishigas so if you’re going to do it you might as well make it count for a second dish. Speaking of second dishes, I turn leftovers into a Warm Chicken Salad for lunch the next day based on a dish by the same name in Food52’s A New Way to Dinner. I’ll post that one soon. This dish is based on Cook’s Illustrated’s Crispy Chicken Nuggets, which calls for garlic and onion powder which I rarely have around and on one occasion I randomly had some Lawry’s Seasoned Salt and liked the change so I’ve made it that way since. To make the overall meal lighter, I tucked them into lettuce cups with rice and we never looked back. Do not delay. Make this. Your kids will freaking love you for it and secretly you’ll be getting what you want anyway.
Fried Chicken Lettuce Cups
Adapted from Cook's Illustrated
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds)
- 2 cups water
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs, crushed
- 2 1/2 teaspoons Lawry's Seasoned Salt
- 3/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 3 large egg whites
- 4 cups peanut or vegetable oil
- Cooked jasmine or sushi rice
- 1 head butter lettuce leaves
- Sweet Chili Sauce
- Step 1 Cut each chicken breast diagonally into thirds, then cut each third diagonally into ½-inch-thick pieces. Whisk water, tablespoon salt, and Worcestershire in large bowl until salt dissolves. Add chicken pieces and refrigerate, covered, for 30 minutes.
- Step 2 Remove chicken from brine, discard brine, and pat chicken dry with paper towels. Combine flour, bread crumbs, Lawry’s, pepper, and baking soda in shallow dish. Whisk egg whites in second shallow dish until foamy. Coat half of chicken with egg whites and dredge in flour-crumb mixture, pressing gently to adhere. Transfer to plate and repeat with remaining chicken (don’t discard flour-crumb mixture). Let sit 10 minutes.
- Step 3 Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 200 degrees. Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat to 350 degrees. Return chicken to flour dish and turn to coat, pressing flour-crumb mixture gently to adhere. Fry half of chicken until deep golden brown, about 3 minutes, turning halfway through cooking. Drain chicken on wire rack set inside rimmed baking sheet and place in oven. Return oil to 350 degrees and repeat with remaining chicken.
- Step 4 Scoop a spoonful of cooked rice into cleaned lettuce, place chicken nugget on top and drizzle with Sweet Chili Sauce.
- Step 5 MAKE AHEAD: Cool fried nuggets, transfer to zipper-lock bag, and freeze for up to 1 month. To serve, adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Place nuggets on rimmed baking sheet and bake, flipping once, until heated through, about 15 minutes.